The Need for Silence

“The Need for Silence” by Richard Rohr

We don’t know how to take joy in simple things anymore because, frankly, we are sated. You and I have had so much thrown at us! Unless we choose to deliberately under-stimulate ourselves, I don’t think we can reasonably talk about spirituality. We don’t really taste, suffer, enjoy, feel the images that come our way. Westerners have a mania for experience.

Descartes said, I think, therefore I am.

For us it is I experience, therefore I am.

But I’m pretty much convinced experiences don’t change people; realization does. I think of all the powerful experiences that I’ve had. But only when I taste my experiences enough so they become realizations, do I change. That takes time and space. Put time and space together and you have a new definition of silence. We’ve got to create some kind of space so our images can become realizations.

Unless we choose silence, I don’t think a lot of this is going to happen. I don’t think were going to become willing people. We become, instead, willful people, trying to make the world fit our needs. Will triumphs instead of the Spirit. Silence alone is spacious enough to allow Spirit and to let go of will-fullness. Silence makes us willing instead of willful.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Notice the silence.
  • What do you need to put aside to be silent?  Write it down if you need to help let go of it.
  • What experience within you needs time and space?
  • Allow this experience into your focus.
  • Savor the experience.
  • What new thoughts do you have about the experience?
  • Where is God in the experience?
  • How has time and space given you more realization?
  • What message do you hear from God?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to deepen the experience and for any  new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37


If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD